Rincon de la Vieja is an active andesitic complex volcano in Costa Rica, located about 25 km from the city of Liberia. The main summit of the volcano complex stands 1916 meters above sea level, and it’s protected in the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park. It’s one of 7 active volcanoes in Costa Rica. Another name for Rincon de la Vieja is the “Colossus of Guanacaste”.
Seen from the air, Rincon del la Vieja is clearly an active volcano. There are a total of 9 major eruptive centers. You can see several large craters, with the youngest craters located in the southeast region. The last major magmatic eruption in the region happened about 3,500 years ago when about 0.25 cubic km of material was released in a plinian eruption. All the rest of the eruptions have come from the prominent crater that contains a 500-meter-wide acid lake.
There have been a total of 16 major eruptions since historical records began. The most recent event was in February, 1998, but for most of the time, the volcano just spews gasses and ash.
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There are many hot bools and bubbling mud on the slopes of the volcano, and these just add to the reasons tourists visit the park. Hikers can climb up the crater, birdwatch, go river rafting, and do many other activities. Climbing to the top of Rincon del la Vieja volcano is an 8 km hike through two types of forest. The last 2 km is up a 50-degree slope. There are several lodges and hotels in the area for tourists.
We have written many articles about volcanoes for Universe Today. Here’s an article about many famous volcanoes, and here’s an article about another volcano in Costa Rica, Arenal.
Want more resources on the Earth? Here’s a link to NASA’s Human Spaceflight page, and here’s NASA’s Visible Earth.
We have also recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast about Earth, as part of our tour through the Solar System – Episode 51: Earth.